Take A Vacation From Your Problems ... With Sparkling Wine Gelatin

Gelatin. How can I put this delicately: it’s weird. Though its quirkiness is part of its charm. It’s like the slinky of the dessert world. And who doesn’t love a slinky? Life would probably be better with more random slinkies bouncing down stairs. Likewise, I probably don’t eat enough gelatin.

And I don’t know why. Whenever I have some form of the stuff, it’s like a mini vacation from my problems. There are a few other things that draw out similar feelings. Watching Audrey Hepburn movies is one. Champagne is another.

Recently, I found myself with a strange urge to make fruited gelatin. I ended up with something you might suppose Bill Cosby, Martha Stewart and F. Scott Fitzgerald would make, if they found themselves together on a lazy Sunday with some time to kill. Though, I am not confident that even Fitzgerald could have justified buying champagne for such a purpose. It turns out sparkling wine was even gilding the lily.

If you like your wine with a side of whimsy, tuck this recipe away in your ‘ace in the hole’ files. A woman has to have her go-tos. She needs a dress that fits like a glove, a fail-proof recipe, and at least one party trick. Since I can’t tie cherry stems with my tongue, I had better bring the gelatin.

I doubt anyone will object. Depending on the circumstances, it may even be necessary. To quote Betty Davis’s character in Old Acquaintance, “there comes a time in every woman’s life when the only thing that helps is a glass of champagne.” I’d like to amend this quote: “there comes a time in every woman’s life when the only thing that helps is a pan full of fruit-studded sparkling wine, eaten in cubes.” Eating said pan while watching Audrey Hepburn on a breezy summer Sunday? Now that’s gilding the lily.

Summer Fruit Sparkling Wine Gelatin

1.5 cups white grape juice
Pinch of salt
4 packages of gelatin (I used Knox Gelatine)
2.5 cups sparkling wine, divided
1/2 cup raspberries
1/2 cup blueberries
1/4 cup white currants

Heat grape juice until just about boiling. Add pinch of salt. Meanwhile, let the gelatin soak in 1/2 of the wine for a few minutes. Stir grape juice into the wine mixture until gelatin is dissolved. Add in fruit and remaining wine. Pour into 11 x 7 baking dish. Refrigerate for a minimum of 3 hours, ideally 5 or more.

Makes about 15 squares.

-I was worried about maintaining the fizz, so I let the juice cool slightly before adding it to the wine. (It seemed reasonable to assume that heat might deflate the fizz.) This method seemed to work okay. I would have liked a little more fizz, but that said, I'd like a lot of things.

-These are essentially adult knox blocks. Don't feed them to the kiddies unless you feel like asking for it.
(How could I have forgotten how much I love Knox Blocks?)

-I pretty much add a pinch of salt to everything.


  1. gelatin IS weird, especially if you think about its origin...
    nifty little creation here, and hey, i add salt to practically everything too. :)

  2. I'm with you about gelatin's weirdness but this sounds like an interesting treat!

  3. I have not come close to making anything like this yet! While I agree that gelatin is weird, bubbly wine gelatin sounds irresistible! And your picture is awesome.

  4. Wow...this recipe sounds really interesting. I'm definitely going to try it for a bachelorette party this weekend. Way classier than jello shots!

  5. Love this. I've been thinking about making my own classier version of alcoholic jello. I especially love when you write:

    Recently, I found myself with a strange urge to make fruited gelatin. I ended up with something you might suppose Bill Cosby, Martha Stewart and F. Scott Fitzgerald would make, if they found themselves together on a lazy Sunday with some time to kill.

    Gorgeous language and so colorful.

  6. I agree about the weirdsness part. I have never been able to get past the texture of gelatin. These, however, are quite beautiful. The fruit inside, the plate underneath: Art! I'd frame that picture and hang it on my wall. =)

  7. Ha! Thanks all! Yes, this is definitely a recipe that you can make ... and eat the entire pan ... and not feel bad about it. If you feel the need to booze it up a bit, say for a bachelorette party, you could try adding some Lillet too. Happy tasting. ;)

  8. I can't wait to try this!! What a playful party for your mouth...and much more appropriate than Jello shots (nice call Wicked Domestic).

  9. This is the most intriguing and bizarre dish I have seen lately. Awesome idea to use the white grape juice so it is almost an amber color. Neat stuff.


  11. this looks so yummy. i love knox!

  12. Em! I made it today for me and Chris and although I don't like sweet stuff (i.e. dirty martini's and vodka soda's) this wasn't sweet enough! i must have done something wrong b/c i am NOT good in the kitchen. advice advice advice! i added blackberries instead (and blueberries/strawberries)...blackberries not sweet berries in Boston...culprit?
    m.e. from PSU.

  13. Hey Ms. E,

    When I made this I didn't add any additional sugar, so it definitely wasn't sweet. Kind of like drinking sparkling wine, but in solid form with a hint of sweetness from the grape juice. You could definitely add additional sugar to the white grape juice to sweeten it up! (The grape juice I used was Santa Cruz Organic.)

    Or you could try sparkling almond wine, it's a little sweeter than regular sparkling wine. (Or another sweeter sparkling wine.)

    Second time's the charm? Tell Chris I said hello!

  14. Thanks! I think next time I may soak the berries in some sugar. I just got back from Oregon and the fruit there was SO sweet it's hard going back to the fruit here. =(
    Also, when you said 4 packages of Gelatin did you mean 4 envelopes? I bought 4 boxes, but realized there are 4 envelopes in 1 package. Either way, it looks like I have enough Gelatin to give it another go!

    Ms. E.

  15. This sounds so refreshing! Great recipe :)

  16. I've made something similar but just with champagne and club soda instead of the juice - I wanted lots of finite bubbles and little bubble bursts when you eat it. Anyway, for a wedding I catered, I made little tiny cups of vanilla custard (sort of a creme brulee without the brulee) halfway up, then topped with the champagne jello (I made both clear ones and soft purple/grape ones), chilled; top with tiny spritz of whipped cream which was topped by an upside down blackberry or raspberry, mint leaf tucked in. Very pretty and extremely popular. I made over 500 miniature cups for 150 guests and only had about 6 left!